Prata Man Singapore Cuisine
180-9020 Capstan Way
(604) 278 1348
My travels in the past three years (2006-2008) have taken me to Singapore a whopping six times. And those are round trips from North America. If I threw in the short haul trips back and forth from there to neighboring countries as well, that figure could climb up to twelve to fifteen. Yes, the Lion City and I are good friends.
If you’ve ever done the flying, you know its a long haul. A big part of what makes it all worth it though, is the great food culture that can be enjoyed there. And for me, a great roti prata is one thing that I look forward too each and every time, morning, day and night…
The ultimate Singapore-style roti prata for me, is that delicate, light and crispy variation found in the famous places at Jalan Kayu, which I’ve commented on previously. But unfortunately, Prata Man does the opposite, with its thicker, moister pancake type. It felt almost like a green onion cake, with the oil having been absorbed and really noticeable when trying to tear it apart or when taking a bite. These were massive too, IHOP pancake large.
The accompanying beef curry bowl was similarly well proportioned, with generous chunks of meat and potatoes. The curry itself had a nice kick of heat to it, was adequately flavorful though nothing truly amazing. I could see myself coming back for this, but would probably ask for a side of steamed white rice instead of the oil soaked prata.
Lastly, here is another well known staple of Singaporean cuisine, the Hainanese Chicken Rice. I noticed right away that the skin tone was much darker than what I am accustomed to seeing. Was it due to the stock that was used (or ingredients within), the age/plumpness of the bird itself, or some other factor, I am not quite sure. It did have that preferred gelatinous exterior though, so thought the poaching/boiling was done right, leaving the meat still tender and juicy. The type here however had the bones with it, and me being lazy, I tend to prefer when they use cuts that don’t have such obstructions.
The not-pictured bowl of chicken soup that came with it, was very fragrant, perhaps too much so as the ginger and garlic were very noticeable, overtaking the simplicity that I enjoy with this soup. The flavor infused rice was also nothing noteworthy, and not the type that has me slurping it up in haste. I think it was a bit too moist for me, again this is all personal preference. The dipping sauces (of which two were provided on a small tray, where as the rich soy was in a small bottle on the table) were decent. I think we preferred the scallion and garlic combo over the spicy. The soya sauce was a bit watery for my liking, not sure when the last time it was refilled. A shame, as this is my favorite condiment with chicken rice.
The service was interesting to say the least, it felt from the moment we walked in that we were intruding into some family’s living room/kitchen. It felt like a family-run operation, as the young man (perhaps the owner’s son?) was slouched on a stool reading a magazine and only popped up once we made our way to an open table (of which there were many), with a younger woman (his sister?) standing behind the counter. Later I saw an older man (owner?) pop out from the kitchen and shuffle around the seating area.
This visit to this corner of Richmond was made with the intent of doing a double header of eating, with another place in a nearby building. So look for a future report from there, which ended up being the better half of this experiment. Prata, I’m beginning to figure out, is best left to the stalls of Jalan Kayu, at least in my books…